PhD by Research


The PhD (or doctorate) is the highest academic qualification available. A PhD degree is designed to provide strong grounding in highly specialised areas through research. Its goal is to enable students to be researchers in their related fields, contributing to academic knowledge and developing work of internationally publishable quality.

Choosing a Research Topic and Supervisor

If you are considering a PhD degree, one of your first actions before applying for admission to the program is to identify and communicate with a potential supervisor in the relevant area. E-mail the people whose research is most relevant to the area in which you wish to work, and initiate the discussion. 

Entry requirements

You are expected to have an undergraduate degree in the related subject, with a minimum degree class of 2:1 or equivalent. If you do not already have an MSc degree, then we would normally expect you to complete such a degree prior to starting the PhD program. Many students complete their MSc degree in our department before progressing to the PhD.

Overseas applicants will normally be required to provide evidence of English language proficiency. For a research degree, applicants will require a good command of both written and spoken English.

Study mode and duration

Full-time PhD students normally spend three years in study. If you do not already have a Master’s degree, then we would normally expect you to complete such a degree prior to starting the PhD programme. If you have already obtained an appropriate Master’s degree, you may be required to take one or more relevant modules in the School’s MSc in Psychological Research to complement your background and expertise. Part-time students have five years to complete the PhD, and two years to complete the MSc skills modules if required.

Your research thesis is a large project. It will require attention throughout your studies. We have established a system to keep your research on track and help you manage your time. Completing a successful thesis builds on skills and knowledge acquired throughout the MSc modules. It constitutes an original piece of research, usually including several experiments or observational studies.

Your PhD thesis must be defended at the end of your studies in a viva voce examination. This comprises an oral report of the research in the presence of an examining committee.

How to Apply

Applicants must have a first or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent. International students are welcome and encouraged to apply, for exceptional international candidates, we also offer financial aid.

Online Application

Online applications can now be made by prospective applicants for all postgraduate programs and postgraduate research programs at the University.

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